Willing to Die?

Here is the ultimate mark of true friendship.

Growing into Christ (3)

Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.” Jesus answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.” John 13.37, 38

Spiritual Friendship
Aelred of Rievaulx (1109-1167)
“Christ himself has set up a sure goal for friendship by saying, ‘Greater love has no man than this, than that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ Behold, how far love must be extended among friends – to the point that they are willing to die for one another!”

At dinner with a couple of pastor friends some time ago, the topic of persecution came up, at which time one of the pastors opined that he was not quite certain whether he would be willing to lay down his life for the Lord Jesus. He said he hadn’t thought about it, but he hoped he would – he just didn’t know. I was disturbed by this report. It seems to me this is a question we should have resolved, if only in our minds, shortly after coming to faith in Christ. If we are not willing to lay down our lives for Jesus, we certainly will not lay down our lives for a mere mortal. Love for Christ, to the point of being willing to die for Him, is foundational to true friendship. If we will betray the Lord, Who died for us – by reticence or silence or catering to this or that group or individual – what will keep us from betraying those who consider us their true friends? But if, like Jesus, we are willing to die for the faith, then we will give our lives as well to those God has called us to shepherd in His flock (Jn. 10.11). Such self-denial is the mark of true discipleship (Jn. 13.1-35).

Have you settled the question of whether you would be willing to die for Jesus? Talk with a soul friend about this question.

T. M. Moore

Pastoral Hope Initiative
Pastor, where are you in your walk with and work for the Lord? Are you growing? Covering all the bases? Working fruitfully toward the Kingdom of God? Our Pastoral Hope Initiative can help you establish a framework and baseline for steady, fruitful growth into the Lord Jesus; and for the remainder of this spring, we’re waiving the fee for men who want to work through this 14-week protocol. Watch this brief video, then, if you’re interested, let me hear from you at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The calling to make disciples
As pastors and church leaders, making disciples is our primary calling. But we need to make sure we’re growing as disciples, and that our tools for disciple-making are in top condition. Our book, Fan into Flame, provides an overview of the work of disciple-making, together with helpful assessments to discover areas where you most need to grow. Order your copy by clicking here.

The Fellowship of Ailbe is supported through the generous and faithful gifts of those who benefit from and believe in our work. Does the Lord want to use you in this way? Please look to Him in prayer over this question. You can contribute to The Fellowship of Ailbe by using the Contribute button at our website, or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Thank you.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
All quotations from Aelred of Rievaulx, Spiritual Friendship, tr. By Mark F. Williams (Scranton: The University of Scranton Press, 1994, 2002). 

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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